More on that video of a woman doing yoga on what appears to be a ledge of a building too many stories up to think about (it’s actually 25). If you’ve had mixed feelings about this, you’re not alone. Today.com asks “Stunning or dangerous stunt?” and shares quotes from the daredevil, Rachele Brooke Smith, herself.
“I did feel safe on that ledge otherwise I would never have done it. I practice every day and feel extremely confident in the moves that I was doing,” Smith told TODAY Health.
“It definitely was a little scary being so high but I never felt in any way in danger.”
The video which was posted on Smith’s facebook page received an onslaught of comments ranging from praise for intense focus to criticism for being foolish and taking yoga to the extreme. We presented the video yesterday without our usual commentary and many readers responded in turn with their own torn thoughts about the situation. Was it awesome? Was it too much? Is it something we even need to comment on at all?
This facebook comment from Bhakti White took a bigger picture perspective, receiving over 255 likes:
Just my two cents… but I think American yogis are so busy “pushing” themselves to the limits in an external kind of way, that they’re missing the internal message of yoga which is to move beyond our internal limitations or contractions. That transcendent quality of yoga allows us to open up more deeply to our connectivity and our grace. This kind of “fearless” athleticism, while not necessarily contrary or counterproductive to these deeper internal goals, does seem to overshadow them in our media driven yoga frenzy. I fear that these fantastic feats may become all we are able to derive from a far more important and valuable tradition of inner development and personal growth. I do understand the argument that this kind of feat brings up our fears and teaches us how to use the tools of yoga to move beyond them, but I’m not sure the lesson is translating to the fears of the mundane everyday. That is where we must really tackle our subtle withholdings. As a teacher and studio owner I generally see that people are very willing to push themselves to the brink, but far less adept at letting go, surrendering to grace, even simply relaxing! But the photograph of somebody in a deep contemplative state, or a deep relaxation just isn’t as alluring to our public eye… Just some first thoughts/ reactions.
YD was contacted by the Today for comment on the the flurry of responses questioning the intention behind the dangerous feat:
When yoga is presented with stunts, there’s a wow factor, but there’s also a chance it comes off as gimmicky and not authentic, added Jennilyn Carson, founder of YogaDork.com.
This, only echoing the sentiment from many in the yoga world who are struck with curiosity and dubiety over the “show me” yoga trend.
Also mentioned was this post, Yoga Americana: The Full-Pose Phenomenon by Katherine Oakes, which takes on a similar subject and reminds us “our power is not in a picture. Practice for practice’s sake.”
Whether you were inspired or frustrated by the daredevil yoga stunt, the fact that we, as a yoga community, have so much to say about incidents like this seems to be a good thing, for discussion is important part of growth and understanding. Let’s keep it civil, sattva seekers.